If you wish Detroit youth today produced music similar to sounds of the 1960s, you're in luck: For the next two weekends a group of talented teens will perform Motown hits like "Please Mr. Postman" and "Do You Love Me."
The Mosaic Youth Theatre, a Detroit staple that has spent two decades working on its mission to empower youth through the arts, will celebrate the end of its 20th season with a performance of the ensemble's most popular show, "Now That I Can Dance -- Motown 1962," originally written in 2004 by Mosaic's CEO and founder Rick Sperling.
For the next two weekends, this year's crop of budding stars will perform the musical at the Detroit Film Theatre. The show was previously performed in 2005 and 2007.
"We think this is unique, to have the teenagers of today tell the story of Detroit's most famous teenagers -- the young Motown stars," Sperling told WXYZ.
The show looks at the early days of the record label and its singers before they were catapulted to fame. Sperling told the Detroit Free Press that the show brings Motown's untold stories to light and digs into the record label's history with the help of stories from members of the original bands.
According to the Detroit News, this year's performance features no adults in the entire show, and the youth performers have pushed their dancing to the next level with inspiration from historic Motown performances found in the the treasure trove of YouTube, as well as coaching from Katherine "Kat" Anderson Schaffner.
Schaffner was an original member of the Marvelletes, who scored Motown Records' first number-one single with "Please Mr. Postman." Mosaic's musical follows the Inkster-born group of teenage girls' struggles and early successes before Motown took off.
"It's my sincere hope that audiences will leave the theatre with a better understanding of, and appreciation for, the early, gritty days of Motown, long before the Supremes had their first of 13 number one hits," Sperling said.
See the WZYZ video above to hear Mosaic Youth Theatre singers channeling Motown artists as they perform the Contours' 1962 classic hit "Do You Love Me."
For more Mosaic, you can see the troupe perform "Now That I Can Dance -- 1962" at the Detroit Institute of Arts' Detroit Film Theatre at 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit on Friday through Sunday, May 11 to 13 and Friday through Sunday, May 18 to 20. The Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. and the Sunday shows are at 4 p.m.
For more information, see the Mosaic Youth Theatre's website.
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